What now in America is the number one growth industry? How odd does it sound that there are over 50 million Americans with criminal records? How futile and mismanaged is it that there are 2.2 million Americans in prison. It can’t yet be true! Even as I put these thoughts to pen, almost 50 percent of that 2.2 mill figure is incarcerated for non-violent offences. How drunk and out of control is the justice system in America? Alarmed? Frightened? How has this edifice of American democracy been so easily vanquished by the baby boomers? Afraid of the dark road whishing by as you watch sitting in the back seat of the speeding car and there’s no one driving? Flabbergasted that every modern administration from Truman to the Bushes to Obama to Biden has openly lied to us about the Industrial Military Complex and has secretly and illegally collected private data on its citizens while condemning and threatening with incarceration the “Ellsbergs” and “Snowdens” of their very honourable opposition? They have lied about the amount of violent crime, fudged and downplayed the statistics concerning the science on how to reduce it and exaggerated how luxurious are the American prisons they have rushed to produce. See also, Weapons of Math Destruction on how mathematical algorithms are now used by law enforcement agencies to target the defenseless, Black & Hispanic minorities and the poor in America.
Let me tell you a sad tale about how the political class (the new totalitarians) have destroyed law, order and justice in their own country and have done it in record time—less than 70 years. Just as they have sold abroad the mass-manufactured cigarette habit, sent international the processed and fast food (though nutritionally-free) addiction and exported a broken-down mixed economy philosophy to the rest of the world, so the explosion of incarceration is blooming globally because of the crazy American belief that hunting down, incarcerating and even executing someone is better than letting them become a user to opiates and narcotics. See the deceitful political view that the drug crisis is a libertarian or even youthful problem and not a liberal welfare-state creation where all these sudden drug deaths are mostly homeless boomers and former or not so former hippies. Or that locking up a shoplifter with two former felony convictions for 20 years is even remotely useful. But prisons aren’t just filled with druggies and burglars. No! Any businessman making a profit is suspect. Muslim, Hispanic or Black males are cause for a careful look? Thirty percent of black males spend time in American prisons. Did you hide your revenue and fail to pay the full measure of your insufferable taxes? Maybe you used an inappropriate expression at work and they got you on a sex crime?
As the (literally) corpulent Western politicians of the modern bloated democratic state scream about (the actually falling) completely exaggerated crime rates: there are now around eleven million people in prison worldwide; of countries with a population over a million, USA is number one by a landslide, China # 2 comes in much lower at 1.7 million and Russia at #3 much less still at just over 600,000. In 2015, the American incarceration rate was nearly 700 per 100,000, Russia’s 650 and China’s 118. These three countries hold about one half of all the world’s prisoners and do you really need to know more—but keep reading—it gets better, or worse, depending on prospective. England at a rate of 145 is about halfway down in the worldwide list. India at 33 is one of the lowest.
One wants to ask many questions, but for the purpose of this article, we want to go back to Richard Nixon’s declaration of a War on Drugs in 1971 which allowed him and his ilk to backdoor racism against North American Hispanics and Blacks. He is not just the worst president ever. This red-baiting hoodlum constantly lied to the public, was a Racist, anti-Semitic, threatened nuclear holocaust on the world, cheated at elections, allowed Kissinger a terrorist’s liberty in Central America and Asia, took America off the gold standard, hired every villain he could find and so much more whose consequences are only being now seen–it isn’t all about Watergate believe me, indeed it was his least travesty.
The Political Class’s willingness to build, privatize and actually make money on the loss of people’s liberty, doesn’t just apply to prisoners anymore either, it applies to every one of us. We are not approaching totalitarianism in a stormy sea of terrorism; we’re docking at the harbour on a calm sunny afternoon and begging our legislature to please take it away! Interesting fact: before 1971, the prison population in America was less than 200,000. (Currie pg 9)
Can you get 20 years for smoking a joint in America—don’t say you can’t; it happens all the time. Can you get 5 for 10 if you’ve done absolutely nothing? Why? You were in the wrong place at the wrong time and you’ve been offered a negotiated plea-bargain with the state prosecutor after the police have told you that you have nothing to worry about as a first time offender with no record and you can’t afford anyone but the lousy state defender? You bet your innocent ass you can. The plea bargain system has completely corrupted the courts. Instead of adjudicating guilt (or blamelessness) while defending constitutional safeguards they use this legal device to herd the multitudes of marginal people into the cells built for the gain of the political machine. Justice in America today is a joke! Here’s a funny story from the Gulag Archipelago. ‘Commissar, ‘what were you given a tenner for?’ Prisoner, ‘for nothing’. Commissar, ‘you lie; the sentence for nothing is a fiver.’
If you are an African American in the justice system, you number well over a million with another half of that employed to guard you: for the state, it’s win/win. Jesus, I am counting the votes even as I write this and though due process has been utterly destroyed by the plea-bargain and there are no more Perry Mason courtrooms let alone Law and Order, it is far worse than it appears. Now the backroom arm-twisting false-smile assurance that 5 for 10 is a damn good bargain; you should be grateful and serve your time without whining. It’s not so bad to throw your life away so that politicians, cops, lawyers and judges can have a better life. Why didn’t I think of that political system? Oh wait; they already did that in Russia for 75 years. Fourteen percent of their population was in prison at one point in the fifties, see here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. America, the new Soviet order! Imagine, and the Conservative Republicans did it!
Prison Business in America
The Penal Profit Paradox
But enough sarcasm. Let us continue with the facts. Here are the basic ones: A nation with a falling rate of crime because of demographic reality incarcerates a vast, and rapidly growing, number of its citizens but still suffers the worst violent crime rate in the industrialized world. Look at Canada. We watch all the same shit, play all the same idiotic games, go to the same overpriced violent movies but have no such problem—following the link: in America the murder rate is 23 times, and rape 16, that of Canada. Where do all these dangerous people come from? Canada’s immigration policy is more liberal than America’s (per capita), although both America and Canada are in the top ten countries for immigration. (Just to say, hard to blame it on immigration even though the Trumpimbeciles do it!) Unwanted or fatherless children, lack of free abortion access, child abuse by alcoholic and religious conservative parents, little or no gun control, institutionalized racism, chronic unemployment, young under-educated, unmarried, non-immigrant males not in the work-force and on welfare, and the totally failed, War on Drugs are some of the major differences. Most often it comes down to imprisoning someone’s kid who didn’t want them in the first place. Still, the population boom in prisons doesn’t actually match a rising crime rate overall; however, the number one reason why it’s not co-related to actual violence is as we have already stated: 40 to 50 percent of the prison population are there for non-violent offenses. Having stated this, much of the problem is about making money: we will get to that; some of it is about political mismanagement: and we will get to that as well.
Any criminologists 101 realize that no nation could incarcerate themselves out of crime and into good citizens anymore than parents could browbeat their child into honesty or brilliance. Prisons have two vital functions for democratic societies: firstly as deterrents for those tempted to get something for nothing (i.e., those who practice a solipsist’s socialism) and incapacitation for recalcitrance, and secondly, as rehabilitation and job training/education for those worth saving and who want to live an independent life without any more cheating. Make no mistake, and it’s sad to say, human beings are incredibly complicated and none of these things work easily if at all. Moreover, they are both eclipsed by two other more fundamental needs: victim retribution, and most importantly, the proper management of society by the body politic to prevent crime in the first place. Why prohibitions on behaviour with no direct physical casualties (smoking, prostitution, drinking, drugs, etcetera), are particularly egregious is that they put people not prone to violence into direct contact with ones who have no such reservation, i.e., the socio and psychopaths.
But back to America’s anomaly of locking up so many of its citizens: an elementary enquiry into this subject leads to three possibilities. America is extremely punitive; America is exceedingly crime prone; or a combination of both. I believe these realities are only superficially true. In fact, they are skewed because of political mismanagement of the state. Firstly, the state is a collection of individuals locked into a relation by borders and the most important allegiance they owe to one another is the safe and political management to produce the best possible result that reason and science can give them. Please read, Six Reasonable Men. Biblical metaphysics cannot help make America and the world a better place. A calm and reasoned system of justice can do that. The only moral justification for the state is our security: police, military and an independent judiciary. How could we have so mishandled the only really essential thing the state does, i.e., the rule of law?
I need to tell you another little story, call it: “The Absolute Failure of Prisons for Profit.” Since the 1970s, cowardly politicians afraid of being tarnished from right-wing bullies like the druggie Rush Limbaugh as being soft on crime have gone into the rapidly expanding prison system business as they did with the Military Industrial Complex in the fifties and sixties during the height of the Cold War.
Private corrections corporations and publicly traded prison companies hire former prosecutors, judges and cops. They fill their boards with CIA, NSA or other spy agencies personnel and also with politicians and former politicians just as the pharmaceutical, military contractors, banks and hospital boards (among many other state regulated entities) do. Yes the Eisenhower nightmare has metastasized like a deadly cancer throughout all American business and government. Believe me when I stress that it is the end times, but not like the religious nuts mean it.
What is the Political Class’ Wet-dream?
A Prison in Every Neighbourhood!
Only the shameless National Rifle Association bulldozes as much as the prison lobby does. The disgraceful police unions stir up the right wing rabble even while crime is declining. ‘Longer sentences—bigger prisons!’ Just as the military folks scream like starving chicks always for more and more even while the country is bankrupting itself on military spending. For shame! These patriots are the most un-American of Americans. They care nothing for the gun-slaughter in the schools, the 2.2 million folks in prison, rule of law, liberty or judicial constitutional constraints. Those children murdered would stare aghast at the stupidity that angry crazy teenage males are allowed to get guns that can empty a hundred bullets into a crowd in less than ten seconds. Rational people would be flabbergasted that a society would evaluate inmates with the dull stupid disgrace as though the transgression of smoking pot is the same category as rape and murder. Americans should be outraged that just because they are the singular super power in the world that it is their duty to manage the globe even if they and the West entirely fail because of economic mismanagement at home, for shame!
Now, speaking of mismanagement: here are some of the worst of them: the three strikes and you’re out policy combined with the restriction on judicial discretion has allowed this outright travesty to mushroom into comedy. If an independent judicial branch was the last firewall against this sort of abuse, it is now a conduit. The right wing propensity to incarcerate for everything without economic consequence or of the danger to the society, show that any intelligent person concerned about the future of the West or liberty in general should leave the conservative movement once and for all and come into the libertarian or classical liberal fold. A society can be judged morally by the severity of its prison sentences and the voice from the religious right is all you need to hear to recognize human cruelty. They are finished!
Here are some primers about violent crime (i.e., rape and homicide): it is committed mostly by 15 to 35 year old males without fathers; then these demographic pointers are relevant to the peaks and troughs we see in prison population and if the political class defy these trends, then it is indicative that something has gone awry. Here's an important countervailing fact; before single motherhood was socially accepted and subsidized by the state, Blacks, Hispanics and Caucasians single family homes were well under 10 percent in the forties and fifties in America, now the figures are an alarming 70, 50 and 30 percent respectively; so much for the welfare state. Did I mention about unwanted babies, Draconian abortion laws and religious propensity to dim-witted solutions when it comes to managing our personal lives in the here-and-now and forget about the never-never-land of their make-believe airy-fairy eternity and their continual longing for perfect justice? In other words, that crime was falling drastically in the nineties was indicative of demographics (all the baby-boomer males were over 35 years old at around the 1990s for instance); so, America should have been closing prisons not building more of them just as they should have been closing military bases after the fall of the wall. Check out these differences compare to other less mismanaged places: the 1994 homicide rate for American youth is 37 for 100,000; for the British it was 1 per 100,000; 3 for Canadian youth; 1.8 for Swedish; 1.4 for French and .6 for Japanese. In other words an American youth was 60 times more likely to be a victim of homicide than a Japanese one in 1994. And the American rate was still well over 15 per 100,000 homicides overall stripped of the higher rate in the Black population, (Currie page 20 -25). Come on: you can’t George Will this one, i.e., ‘Americans have a natural propensity for violence’. No, they have a proclivity to think Conservatives aren’t any less thick than Liberals. I don’t think that is true at any rate; they seem to me to be equal opportunity idiots.
Apparently there is a view out there—a modern myth if you will—that violent crime is high in America because of lenient sentencing, but even if there were any truth to it then why cram the prison population with non-violent offenders and petty thieves? What is happening in America is a profitable business model in an area of life where such a thing is totally inappropriate. There is another fable out there that people live longer in rural areas than urban. Completely not true. The mean is four years longer if you live in a metropolitan area. There’s a myth on the Left that constant economic competition produces waste and mediocrity. Absolute nonsense as any sporting event or business innovation will prove! There’s an outlook that cancer and heart disease are wholly genetic. They are modern manmade diseases that you may have a genetic disposition to, but what you eat, how much exercising you do and your approach to life in general determine the end result. Or that, overall, crime has risen in modern times compare to tribal times. Ridiculous! In the interior of Papua New Guinea when the 2000 tribes with 400 distinct languages of the 50,000 or so hunter/gatherers/farmers were discovered in the 18th century, the number one cause of death was murder for reasons centered on tribal warfare. Here’s another modern myth, that democracies are more corrupt than autocracies. Completely false as any intelligent second look at China or Russia will show you. Or that the state and church are entities that love and care for you and should not be separated as the atheists demand. Laugh out loud! Or that business-folks and politicians are antagonists. No they are bedfellows—often outright lovers screwing 24/7 at the poor’s expense. They have few disagreements on the peripherals about taxes. They are organic self-sustaining organs that grow and spread like bacteria with their own agenda beyond the control of the participants! Churches, businesses and governments need to be kept separate by the zealous will of the citizens!
In evolutionary terms we all came from African stock with a linage of millions of years, hairless, dark-skinned, naked, taller than we are now with greater bone density, larger brains, faster runners, and not Caucasian nor peaceful. The Teutonic collectivist-philosophers got it all wrong. Racism is the greatest of all modern myths! Why we shouldn’t be building prisons and locking up people who want to get high is the same as why we shouldn’t be taxing industrious people who want to build their own future on their own merit or outlawing same sex relationships, or tax exempting cults and religions, two words practically synonymous.
These Matters are None of the State’s Business!
Let’s continue on: We want to address Broken Windows versus Young Offender Acts before drawing any conclusions or condemnations of the right of the state to draw first blood among the young in our not so modern times. My teenage son was a planned event and he is greatly loved; I give him hell about showering and brushing his teeth. If he was caught breaking a window on a vacant building, Canadian police officers would take him home, offer some wise and timely advice, make some suggestions for better occupying his free time and so forth—maybe finding new friends. Parents and police would shake hands and discuss a plan of action for the future. We expect nothing less of the justice system in Canada even if sometimes we have to fight for it. My son knows he is loved on many fronts: from my wife’s large family and by my even larger one. I know another teenager. He was unwanted and when he became a hand-full as any teenager is, his unwed single mother farmed him out. His uncle let him crash at his house downtown. The uncle was also single and lived alone. The boys’ girlfriend (they met at work; she was a cashier and he was a produce clerk—that’s how I know him and her) was fired for stealing cash from her register. She came to me in private after her dismissal, begging for money. She had stolen not for herself but for her boyfriend. He was addicted to crack and needed to score. For months, his uncle had been slipping him roofies and alcohol, waiting for him to pass out in the evenings and then raping him. One night he woke up and discovered it. I offered to help her out if her boyfriend would go to the RCMP about it. He was afraid that his uncle would toss him to the street. When he told his mother about her sibling, she believed it but offered him no encouragement and did not suggest taking him back in. She had also been thrown out of the house by her father when she was sixteen (for being pregnant through him). Through his girlfriend’s family, he found a place to stay and continued to work. This boy received help and made it into a Canadian rehab program. His addiction didn’t lodge him in jail. His house may well be full of spectres but he will not become the monster his uncle became.
But let’s consider for a second that his girlfriend had turned her back on him and/or that I had told them to get lost. She was after all a thief and I had every right. Now let’s say he was a street kid who lived in an American city where the policy was to get them off the street into jails instead of getting him help. If he had been incarcerated, met and learned from violent prisoners how it ‘really’ was; then committed a violent crime sometime later, who would be surprised? No person with commonsense is going to say that he deserves the same punishment as my son would if he did something terrible in the future. It shows something else, I did very little for this person and it probably made all the difference in the world. It sometimes calls for the police to be helpful as preventers not always as enforcers. Some of the expressed over-the-top violence in America after all comes from the police and prison guards themselves.
Another thing about all this massive American incarceration is the enormous cost, now approaching 80 to 100 billion dollars a year. There are evident scientific findings that locally run programs for youth crime prevention work and cost a fraction of the 30,000 to 50,000 dollars a year to house individual criminals. Remember, while property crime has increased for some time, in that same time frame—as the ideology of socialism has grown and the resultant respect for property has declined—homicide rates have incrementally gone down and this is due to a worldwide civilizing effect explained in Better Angels. Another thing worth knowing for all those armchair experts who say youth offenders are given too much attention to rehabilitation and too little on tough sentencing: in America over 50 percent of the costs go to housing prisoners, less than five percent to preventive programs.
The egregious human cost of mismanagement of the body politic regarding prisons/prisoners in America is breathtaking and rivals the Industrial Military Complex and the Federal Reserve for inefficient and neglectful practices of the almost totalitarian political oligarchy that now runs the country. Don’t think for a moment this malignant power want people convicted to ever get out and stay out. Not on your life. The support programs they have in place for re-entry are depressing, vanishing and non-existent. Once you are caught up in the web of American incarcerations you are likely pooched unless your family has resources and still care. Most ex-cons have neither. The overall recidivism rate is above 50 percent. Well, brew me a cup a tea and get me earplugs and sunglasses, enough about crime and punishment in poor America, the political class, as expected have got it exactly wrong. What a tragedy it all is. The Liberals have stood by and watched it all happen, afraid to get Willie Horten-ed, so they Ricky Ray Rector-ed themselves into infamy; however, remember—it is critical—this is a capital C, Conservative crime, and you should make them own it.
Approximately 13 per cent of Americans are black, using estimates from the US Census Bureau. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, black offenders committed over 50 per cent of homicides between 1980 and 2008. Blacks were disproportionately likely to perpetrate homicide and to be the victims. In 2008 the offending rate for blacks was seven times higher than for whites and the victim-rate was six times higher; Over 90 per cent of black victims were slayed by blacks and over 80 per cent of white victims were slayed by whites. Although some time now has passed and we are somewhere “modern”, and many blacks have migrated to Middle American values of families with fathers and work ethics, many have not, in fact, although fatherless homes everywhere are an epidemic today, an alarming percent of black families are without fathers, and for males, in manufacturing crime, that is an absolute liability. For an explication of why black families are worse off now than in the 1920 - 1950's, see, Facts and Fallacies. To see how one of the best systems in the world operates, see Incarceration in Norway. For an explanation of Black behaviour not define by historical slavery, or more modern racism, see Black Rednecks and White Liberals.